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Donations, Community Outreach at Nottingham Walmart Reopening

After 16 months of renovation, the Nottingham Walmart includes a full grocery store.

Speeches, free samples, live music, a giant inflatable milk jug—it was all part of the Wednesday morning.

But amid the "W-A-L-M-A-R-T" cheer and ribbon cutting, which largely involved store and corporate employees, representatives of several non-profits, schools and community organizations also attended.

They were there to accept charitable donations, ranging between $1,000 and $2,500. Those awarded included the Maryland SPCA, the , the Maryland School for the Blind, the Fullerton Fireworks Foundation, the and . The and local chapter of the were also recognized.

, and spoke and congratulated the store, as well.

General manager Terry Raynor said the revamped store at 8118 Perry Hills Court was a friend, not foe, to the community. "We're actually here to help people save money and live better. That's not just a tagline," he said.

Raynor's interest in surrounding neighborhoods is personal, said the Putty Hill native and Calvert Hall graduate. "I remember shopping here with my mom," he said.

When the Nottingham Walmart first opened in 1994, its focus was basic merchandise. Eighteen years later, after 16 months of renovation, the "supercenter" includes everything from fresh produce to a bakery to a nail salon.

Raynor became emotional while talking about improvements at the store. "I've spent 20 years working in retail at 20 different stores, but I came back home to the place where I lived and grew up and shopped. This is the happiest I've been in my career," he said.

The store's new focus on groceries, however, hasn't gone without criticism. Raynor said he's aware of concerns that the store's low prices on food could negatively impact neighborhood grocery stores, and other smaller food sellers.

Raynor responded that lower prices on food would benefit families and may help them spend more of their money locally.

"Right now, we have people leaving the community to buy groceries, going to Harford County and Cockeysville and other areas. If they buy from us instead, it's better to have that money stay in the community," he said.

Raynor also emphasized the number of jobs created by the store's new departments—at least 75 staffers have already been added.

Debbie Winkelman of Perry Hall said she attended the reopening mainly to see her son perform with the , but was impressed by the store, and found herself filling up a grocery cart before leaving that morning.

"If I'm already here, then I'm going to shop for food. Their groceries are cheaper," Winkelman said. "I still like the grocery store near my home, but I'll probably shop there less."

"Walmart does it to a lot of businesses, especially small businesses. They just sell stuff for less," she said.

Where do you shop for groceries? What's most important to you—distance from home, quality, prices or local ownership? Tell us in the comments.

Christie Pulvino June 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Locally I shop at Safeway for produce, specialty foods, and bagels, although, I usually leave frustrated as their customer service is pretty terrible. I shop at Target for pretty much everything else now that they have a decent grocery section. On occasion, we drive up to Wegmans in Bel Air, but the drive is too long for us to do this every weekend. I shop at Walmart on occasion and will probably go on off times (evenings during the week) to take advantage of the newly added grocery section to avoid some of the pretty poor behavior we have witnessed (foul language, disrespect, etc.) by some of the shoppers during peak times (weekends). My family in no way fits the bill of some of the generalized comments that those who shop at discount stores are overindulgent, overweight, etc. We choose to use the money we save from our cost conscience shopping on retirement, daycare, college funds, and travel. I really do like to shopping locally and really try and do so as much as possible and where it makes sense.
Mike Lurz June 14, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Whlie it is your choice to shop wherever, I will be avoiding Walmart..I prefer real foods from the area farms, and would prefer to support those in THIS country, as well as small business...you know the ones Walmart has all but wiped out
Mike Lurz June 14, 2012 at 01:21 PM
they do have a good PR dept, I'll give them that
Scott C. Engel June 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
The Perry Hall HS Steel Drum Band is available for gigs in the area. We are looking to perform at parties and events in the area so we can raise money to purchase more drums and get more students involved in our new program! We are generally available from October through June depending on the school calendar. E-mail me at sengel2@bcps.org if you would like us to come perform at your event!

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